Archive for the ‘stories’ Category
Watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory the other day, I realized: this is not a tale for children.
Sure, there’s a chocolate waterfall, and tiny men singing silly songs. But as a kid, I just nodded along while reading the book or watching the movie. All its lessons made perfect sense: well duh if you’re a total brat – aka a “bad egg” – you’ll be sent down the garbage shoot to the incinerator. (And let’s be clear – as much as I love Johnny Depp’s chiseled cheekbones and Tim Burton’s dark creativity, Gene Wilder will always be the true Wonka in my eyes.)
But this resonance fades as we get older, and more cynical, and more…normal (ew). To the point where when re-watching the movie, you can only assume its makers were high out of their minds. Which is why this is really a story for adults…adults who need to be reminded that the world is as magical as you imagine it to be. Adults that have forgotten that there is indeed a difference between good and bad.
I’ve decided that Wonka is my new personal hero. (I hope to god I someday have to answer this question in a job interview. Cue awkward pause.) And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s the mouthpiece for some of the greatest quotes of all time.
A brief sampling of my favorite Wonka wisdom:
Don’t try to tame life’s uncertainties; celebrate them. Or in Wonka’s words, “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”
Never stop believing that perfection is, indeed, possible. And don’t apologize for success. “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted. He lived happily ever after.”
Some people just suck. If they want to turn themselves into giant blueberries, or miniaturize themselves during TV travel, just keep moving right along. The oompa-loompas can deal. After all, there is “so much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”
Other Wonka gems:
- “Oh, you should never ever doubt what nobody is sure about.”
- “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.”
- “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” (Word.)
- “Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple”
And lastly, because I’m naturally (and nerdily) predisposed to drawing technology parallels, I really can’t think of a better guru for entrepreneurs – especially those already belonging to the School of Jobs. Think Apple’s product secrecy is absurdly locked down? Wonka’s distrust of humans drove him all the way to Loompaland to recruit a tribe of hard working Oompa-Loompas (altruistically saving them from the Whangdoodles and Vermicioius Knids in the process). Had Jobs had access to an engineering and design-inclined equivalent, I’m sure he’d have happily housed them in the Infinite Loop. And if you believe paranoia to be a virtue, how about charging Slugsworth, one of his own, to pose as an outside bidder for the coveted Everlasting Gobstopper?
And when it comes to creativity, no marketing campaign will ever match the sweet success of the five Golden Tickets, which drove massive brand awareness among target consumers (overly indulgent parents with $$) and consumers (sweet-toothed children), ravenous media coverage, and flat-out gluttonous Wonka Bar sales. Wonka didn’t just create products people love; he created magical experiences along with them (hello, chocolate waterfall). No brand has ever been more imbued with “pure imagination” and creativity. And he is the undisputed master of inventing entirely new product categories – sure, phones and tablets are pretty cool, but what about travel by TV, or gravity defying soda? I’d wager the Oompa-Loompas were witness to a fair amount of reality distortion at the Factory.
And lest you think I’m totally loopy by this point, just remember: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”